Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We Can Forget It For You Wholesale

     Oh, hooray, scientists are erasing the memories of mice.  And already, there's talk of erasing people's criminal pasts.  Yeah, sure, that'll work to change behavior -- and it's as moral and humane as a lobotomy.

     Imagine this applied on a large scale in service of any political philosophy -- in service of anything.  "Erase 'em and start over!"

     Memory erasure is a particular horror of mine.  Most of my childhood is lost to me.  Maybe it's for the best; what I can recall is bad enough. Graceless, severely nearsighted, clumsy and socially inept, I was a misfit's misfit, and hated it.  I'm less clumsy now.

     H/T to Scott at The Unwanted Blog.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Your successful, articulate, and have many friends (cyber and otherwise).

Mike

JohninMd.(too late?!??) said...

And I'm with Mike. But the intended idea is ....chilling. It's funny in a movie, like "Men in Black", where you wave a wand and 'poof' you forget my (possibly) unconstitutional actions of the last 20 minutes. The ultimate "move along, nothing to see here - we just made sure!" History is what you can remember, and this would give total control of history to the wielders of the technology.

Robert Fowler said...

JohninMd.(too late?!??) said...
this would give total control of history to the wielders of the technology.


Or the government they are beholden too.

Dave in Indiana said...

Memory erasure is probably pretty high on the list of covered procedures in Obamacare.

rickn8or said...

What Mike said.

Dave H said...

I think that's one of the cleverest (is that a word?) blog titles I've seen in a long time.

jed said...

Reminds me, I just finished The Dark Beyond the Stars, by Frank M. Robinson. Good book.

If it could be targeted tightly enough, I could stand a little of that treatment.

Course, I'd feel better about it if there were a backup capability to go along with it.

CGHill said...

This is, of course, the very subject of the Very Strange film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, from which I excerpt a potential customer's question to the chap doing intake:

Joel [Jim Carrey]: Is there any risk of brain damage?

Dr Mierzwiak [Tom Wilkinson]: Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it's on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you'll miss.

Richard Blaine said...

If you want a slightly more distopain view of where this leads - take a look at the Joss Whedon series The Doll House.

Roberta X said...

I was sorry when that series was cancelled -- it was dystopian indeed. (And I'll counter with the Shift arc of the Hugh Howey Wool novels as another example of the abuse or memory-wipes.)

docjim505 said...

Lurching into full-on geek territory here...

In the old RPG "Traveller", there was a human race called the Zhodani that had perfected mind control to the point that they had a literal thought police that could and did alter / remake the personality of people who, for whatever reason, didn't quite "fit it", from criminals to political malcontents to people who were merely unhappy with themselves.

Now, setting aside the obvious potential for political abuse... how many people WOULD like to have their personality given a full-on makeover such that, afterward, they were genuinely content or even happy? They would have no memory of who they were, and so (presumably) wouldn't miss that person or harbor ill-feelings about that "person" ceasing to exist.

What price happiness? Given the amount of money people spend on diets, gyms, plastic surgery, and therapy, I suggest that the "total personality makeover" would be remarkably popular.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Given the amount of money people spend on diets, gyms, plastic surgery, and therapy, I suggest that the "total personality makeover" would be remarkably popular."

And, given what we're finding out about corporate collusion/submission to the NSA, I'm sure every "personality makeover" would come with a wonderfully convenient backdoor for the feds. That subliminal message on your tv? Now you're pre-programmed to obey it - and to forget its existence. It's for the children, y'know.

Activation code a31570s5a. The Corps is mother, the Corps is father. You will not consciously remember this message. End of message.

docjim505 said...

Jake (formerly Riposte3) - given what we're finding out about corporate collusion/submission to the NSA, I'm sure every "personality makeover" would come with a wonderfully convenient backdoor for the feds.

Why a backdoor? Americans (including, to my shame, myself) are tamely submitting to having their privates groped by TSA rent-a-pervs, and many of our fellow citizens loudly proclaim that we not only ought to submit, but actually thank Uncle Sugar for "keeping us safe". Hell, there are polls that show a significant fraction of Americans are totally cool with government control of the media*. So, is it a stretch to believe that people would welcome FRONT DOOR federal control of their minds?

===

(*) To the extend that we don't already have it.